May 26, 1997 12:00 PM

Bettie Serveert

This terrific Dutch foursome are maestros of melancholy, but there’s nothing depressing about Bettie Serveert’s brooding third album. (If you’re wondering, the band’s name pays homage to homeland tennis star Betty Stove and means, literally, “Betty serves.”) Rather, the appealing counterpoint of Peter Visser’s crunching guitars and Carol van Dijk’s lilting vocals evokes the soul-pleasing moodiness of rainy afternoons among the lovelorn. No matter how often van Dijk protests, in the heartachy “Fallen Foster,” that “I’ve been down before/ Now it doesn’t hurt no more,” the sadness dripping from every syllable belies her bravado. To paraphrase ’60s heartbreak diva Lesley Gore: It’s Bettie Serveert’s party, and they’ll cry. if they want to. (Matador/Capitol)

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